You Do Whhaaaat?

I was looking at a picture of office buildings on the Oracle "campus" (including its racing yacht tied up to the dock) when it occurred to me that, even though it has been around since the dawn of the digital age and rakes in nearly $40 billion a year, I have no idea what Oracle actually does.

Going quickly to its Web site, I found this official explanation hardly enlightening: "Oracle provides a wide choice of software, systems, and cloud deployment models—including public, on-premises, and hybrid clouds—to ensure that technology flexes to the unique needs of a business. Oracle Cloud is a complete, integrated stack of platform, infrastructure, and application services. With advanced scalability and security, Oracle Cloud enables technical agility across the enterprise, connects people to information for clearer insights, and fosters efficiency through simplified workflows."

Got it? (Will be on the final exam.)

Then it dawned on me that there are probably lots of tech companies with names everyone knows, but are hard to quickly define, like Exxon=oil spills or GM=auto recalls or Chipotle=E. coli. As a public service, here are some easy to understand summaries of some everyday big tech names:



APPLE: a narcotic substance largely manufactured in China and sold in stores that have no walls as part of its illusory "transparency." Once addicted, users are compelled to buy ONLY Apple regardless of how they change the formula, which always results in prices increases. Addicts do not respond to suggestions they withdraw with Japanese substitutes and insist they are not part of a cult, even though they are. AMC spit-balling new series: “Fear The Apple User.”

FACEBOOK: started as a college prank to compare the attractiveness of undergraduate women, has now morphed into the largest repository of personal information outside of the NSA (oh, and Amazon). In spite of persistent concerns about online companies invading their privacy, Facebookers voluntarily dump loads of personal information on to the site, which is quickly converted into targeting data for marketers. Largest ad segment: Clearly Over-Served Plastic Cup Users.

DELL: Won the PC battle against Commodore, Tandy, IBM, Compaq, HP and others only to lose the war when everyone outside of work stopped using desktops in favor of smartphones. Shifts focus to peripherals like printers and monitors that cost more than equivalent-sized LED TV monitors.  Owner takes out frustrations on NBA. Buys EMC to lock in enterprise side of the business. Most famous for outsourcing costumer service to non-English speaking foreign nations where level 1 phone-answerers are not entirely sure which is the start button and which is the USB port until they look it up.

MICROSOFT: Launches 10 or so versions of a PC operating system that oddly gets worse, then better, then worse, then better. Misuses AI to determine desktops should look like smartphones, pissing off entire two or three generations of users. Builds world's best word processor software only to screw it up with animated paper clips and changing the interface JUST enough to make users relearn it with each "upgrade." Finally abandons desktop for cloud-based subscription model that nobody wants as PC biz sinks into the Pacific (see DELL).

IBM: Was once synonymous with biggest, fast super-computers and best-built laptops, but now yields both market positions to Asian nations. Keeps one on hand to play chess and calculate how to make a gourmet dinner out of the three items left in the fridge. Becomes a "consulting" firm brought in to absorb the blame for layoffs and division shutdowns because the CEO doesn't have the cojones to own the hard decisions. Enshrines white shirts and pocket protectors in the Geek Hall of Fame.

3 comments about "You Do Whhaaaat? ".
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  1. George Parker from Parker Consultants, September 16, 2016 at 10:33 a.m.

    George... What Oracle actually does is provide Larry Ellison with the funding that enables him to add to his always expanding collection of yachts, airplanes, houses, Islands and Japanese ephemera. Oracles success is also tied to its ability to sign customers to 100 year service contracts with cancellation penalties that include putting your wife into prostitution and selling your kids into slavery. Cheers/George

  2. Joseph Galarneau from Mezzobit, September 16, 2016 at 5:55 p.m.

    Mezzobit scans the Internet looking for technology from ad/marketing/pub-tech companies, social networks, etc. and then creates entries in our database so we can properly identify it on our customers' websites. We've assembled more than 300 categories to describe different verticals and subverticals, and have more than 10,000 entries in our database.

    I've personally looked at hundreds of websites and marketing sheets from companies springing from our searches. In a surprisingly large number -- more so in ad tech than other verticals -- it's really difficult to pin down exactly what a company does other than saying they "add value."

  3. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, September 16, 2016 at 7:25 p.m.

    George:  Congrats...a particularly well-written and funny piece falling into the sad-but-seemingly-true hopper. What were some of these firms thinking when their marketing research results came back?    As to Joseph's note about exactly how firms provide value-added...yep, the websites are pretty vague,.  Get on the phone with a rep and ask "can you do X?"...and you often get..."not exactly, but we can do Y, Z...and our version T, U and V. 

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